You Don’t Have To Be Jewish…

What if you offered low-cost therapy to teenagers, divorced people and seniors — and no one took advantage of it?

That’s not exactly what’s happening with the Jewish Family Service, but it’s close.

For several years, the agency has provided counseling services to residents of Westport, Weston, Wilton and Norwalk.  Clients — who of course do not have to be Jewish — are few and far between.

“We’re a hidden gem,” says a frustrated Sue Brenner, the psychotherapist and clinical supervisor at JFS’s Westport office (located in Compo Shopping Center, above Cohen’s Fashion Optical).

“Maybe because we’re a non-profit, and don’t have the finances to advertise, but we’re definitely underused.  It’s puzzling to me.”

The counseling — by licensed clinicians — is low-cost, for families, couples and individuals.  No one is turned away; if you can’t pay, there is no fee.  JFS does accept insurance.

The organization is starting 2 new groups.  One is called “Teens — Let’s Talk.”  The focus will include self-consciousness, difficulty getting to school or attending social activities, concerns about body image, and worries about academic or athletic performance.

The teen group will meet Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m.  For more information, contact Lisa  Schwartz (203-400-9301;

A 2nd group is aimed at men in the process of divorce.  It will meet Wednesdays, from 7:30-9 p.m.  For information, contact Anthony Silver (203-921-4161, ext. 213,

One success story is older Westporters.  For a while now, JFS has facilitated an ongoing group at the Senior Center.

What do they know that the rest of Westport doesn’t?

3 responses to “You Don’t Have To Be Jewish…

  1. Hush McCormick

    It sounds like a wonderful program with Wesporters helping Westporters. I would imagine that potential clients might be hesitant about seeking out “low cost therapy” without some barometer as to actual cost. I am certain, as always, that your plug will bring them a steady stream of those in need. Thanks for your continued support for the unknown,overlooked here in Westport.

  2. We are smarter

    While it is true that JFS turns no one away, we are unable to see clients free of charge. Arrangements can be made, however, to adjust our fee schedule to accommodate clients who have little or no insurance, or who demonstrate financial need.

    Thank you.
    Maria McNulty
    Office Manager
    Jewish Family Service